Allen Stern, one of the Web’s original bloggers and founder of CenternetWorks, has died. Mr. Stern established himself early in the New York startup scene, shining a spotlight on tech companies when few others did. His sister posted the news on Mr. Stern’s Facebook account, but didn’t indiciate the cause of his death. [CNET]
Careful, your sponsored content is leaking: “Brands are everywhere, and brands have now leaked into what has been traditionally the editorial space.” [New York Times]
Why does Google pay Neal Mohan, its VP of display of advertising products, more than Carmelo Anthony? Because the visionary “predicted how brand advertising would fund the Internet.” [Business Insider]
In the United Kingdom, some lucky Facebook users are being charged up to £10 to send private messages to celebrities as part of a trial run. The scheme had a U.S. trial run in January when it cost $100 to message Mark Zuckerberg. [Guardian]
California already prohibits using your phone to text or call while driving. Recently, an appeals court ruled out using maps as well. Regulations against changing Spotify playlists are presumably next. [AllThingsD]
Off the Media
Last week, Coca-Cola put out a study declaring that online buzz has no impact on sales. And of course, that announcement drove everyone on the Internet to start buzzing about it.
AdAge, MediaBistro, Motley Fool, Business Insider and dozens of others all weighed in on Coke’s study, which “finds online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales”–driving thousands of tweets, likes and comments between them. (By “weighing in,” I mean they repeated the same few facts derived from the same presentation originally reported by AdAge in its “Buzzkill: Coca-Cola Finds No Sales Lift from Online Chatter” story.)
When it comes to advertising, it’s hard out there for a porn company–not that one of the Internet’s biggest porn websites really needs to advertise itself. As all those pearl-clutchy “Vine’s Porn Problem” posts will tell you, porn is everywhere on the Internet, and most of those NSFW videos can be viewed on PornHub, a popular adult video streaming site.
Now, BuzzFeed reports that PornHub has created a totally SFW Super Bowl ad, only to have it harshly rejected by the bigwigs at CBS. (We’ve reached out to CBS in order to independently verify that it rejected the ad.)
The “Dude, you’re getting a Dell!” guy gained a modicum of fame in the early aughts for popping up in random Dell commercials and surprising enterprising college students and old people with a Dell computer. (Really? This? I asked for an Apple Powerbook…)
Now, Ben Curtis has reemerged onto the tech scene, exciting dudes everywhere with a nostalgia boner for old computers. And Mr. Curtis claims he knows exactly how to solve Dell’s recent financial woes: hire him back, obvi.
It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It
Caught your breath from Instarage yet? We sure hope so, because here comes another move that’s sure to inspire another round of e-riots on Planet Zuck. Ad Age reports that Facebook is prepping to launch video ads by April of next year. They’ll appear both on the desktop and mobile versions of the site.
Worst of all, sources tell Ad Age they’ll be set to autoplay. Bold move, Mark! Facebook might even enable the audio, which would probably be the most annoying thing Mr. Zuckerberg has done since, well, ever.
Much ink has already been spilled over Instagram’s new updated terms of service, which specifically states that it can use your photos for “advertising and promotions.” Twitter users erupted in outrage over the news, with many techies claiming they would soon be quitting the service. Wired wrote a helpful how-to on how to download your photos and delete your account. Photographer Clayton Cubitt, who is not at all hyperbolic, called it Instagram’s suicide note. Gizmodo called everyone whiny babies and offered a counterpoint: “shut up.”
When last we checked in on creepy technologies that wholly encroach on your sense of personal privacy, Microsoft had registered a patent that would allow the Kinect to detect how many people are in a room and stop playback on a movie if it sensed more people than the copyright allowed. But a new patent filed by Verizon takes that concept a step further by allowing a set-top box to observe what’s going on in your house and serve you ads based on what it hears.
The Merry Pranksters
From Old Spice’s viral “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign to the contentious Skittles spot that made One Million Moms cry bestiality, bizarre or aggressive advertising has become commonplace in our internet-addled society. To nab the attention of customers toggling between screens, advertisers frequently toe the line between inappropriate and outrageous, but few are as unabashedly controversial as the Queens-based OKFocus. Named to AdAge’s Creativity 50 in July, OKFocus is a rebel brand’s dream, equal parts design snob and attention-seeking internet troll. And as advertising moves online, OKFocus clients like Google and the Museum of Contemporary Art have taken note.
The Undercover Ad Man
Of all the “if you build it, they will come,” social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr seemed the most advertising-averse. Floppy-haired founder David Karp memorably betrayed a visceral distaste for the stuff. It “really turns our stomachs,” he said in 2010, following that up with a vow not to become “wildly profitable” by slapping an AdSense ad on the otherwise elegant dashboard of all 80 million Tumblr blogs. But it seems as though the microblogging site’s methodical approach toward making money has paid off—thanks in part to guidance from Rick Webb, a 20-year veteran of the ad industry and co-founder of digital consultancy Barbarian Group, who was attracted to Tumblr for its aversion to the “crap” ads that permeate the web.
Shooting off some borderline-rude half-baked review of a product or service is kind of a Twitter rite of passage; the platform would simply cease to exist if crochety tweets were suddenly outlawed. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that your anti-iPhone 5 tweets are actually being used by competitors to mount compelling advertising campaigns. Hey, at least you’re not just shouting into a void? (You’re mostly shouting into a void.)